October 8, 2002

City of Los Angeles becomes first customer for fuel cell car

Honda FCX fuel cell vehicle
Click image to enlarge

Los Angeles, California – L.A. Mayor Jim Hahn announced an agreement between the City of Los Angeles and American Honda Motor Co., Inc., to make Los Angeles the first U.S. retail customer for a fuel cell car. The City will take delivery of the first of five production vehicles before the end of 2002.

“Air quality in the Los Angeles basin has steadily improved in recent years, thanks in part to the deployment of new environmental technologies,” said Mayor Hahn. “Hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles hold great promise for future clean air vehicles and it’s important that Los Angeles play a leading role in development and early use of this technology.”

The Honda FCX recently was the world’s first fuel cell vehicle certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. EPA, with both government agencies certifying it as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV).

The Honda FCX uses hydrogen supplied to a fuel cell “stack” to generate electricity and power it’s electric motor. With a maximum output of 80 horsepower and 201 foot-pounds of torque, acceleration is similar to a Honda Civic. The FCX has a range of up to 220 miles and seating for four people, making it practical for a wide range of real-world applications. Los Angeles City employees will use the vehicles on the job as regular pool cars and for commuting. The City and Honda are finalizing plans on refueling support systems to supply hydrogen fuel for the vehicles.

“This vehicle is now ready for practical use,” said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. “Using a fleet of advanced fuel cell vehicles in a real world environment will help us evaluate these vehicles with our customers. It also will help in the development of a refuelling infrastructure needed to support customers of hydrogen-powered vehicles.”

Honda plans to lease about 30 fuel cell cars in California and Japan during the next two-to-three years. The company currently has no plans, however, for mass-market sales of fuel cell vehicles or sales to individuals.

Honda undertook fuel cell research in 1989 and has been road testing vehicles in the United States and Japan since 1999. Honda has been a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) based in Sacramento, California, since 1999.

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